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Nov 16, 2012 8:22pm
Medium lingzi 1454 posts

MONTREAL —The Montreal Impact insist there will be no scoreboard watching
Saturday night as they try to keep their minuscule Major League Soccer playoff
hopes alive. Jack Ham Jersey . Thats because theyll be in
Houston to face the Dynamo, who hold the fifth and final playoff spot in the MLS
Eastern Conference. Houston, which has yet to lose in 15 home games at BBVA
Compass Stadium, has 49 points for a nine-point lead over seventh-place
Montreal. In order to avoid being eliminated from the playoff race, the Impact
have to become the first team to beat the Dynamo in their new home. “Were just
trying to get a win on the field, and thats all that matters,” Montreal forward
Andrew Wenger said. “Theres one goal. We cant tie, we cant lose, we know exactly
what we have to do.” Even if the Impact win on Saturday, they could be
eliminated Sunday if sixth-place Columbus beats division leaders Kansas City.
Montreal, Houston and Columbus, which has 48 points, all have three regular
season games remaining. Despite facing such bleak prospects of reaching the
playoffs, Impact coach Jesse Marsch says there is plenty to motivate his squad
when they take the field against the Dynamo, who are 10-0-5 at home. “We
understand that the chances are very slim but we want to do everything we can on
our end at this point to keep ourselves alive and to put pressure on them, make
it interesting,” Marsch said. “I think also the challenge thats on the table is
going to a place where a team hasnt lost and that theyve been very good at home.
I think its a challenge that we want to rise to the occasion and show that weve
matured a lot this year and that something as big as this we can go there and
now be successful. “So the combination of those two things means that theres
something to play for, for sure.” The two teams have split their season series.
The Impact claimed a 4-2 win over Houston in their first meeting at Saputo
Stadium on June 23. The Dynamo humbled Montreal 3-0 at home on July 21. Those
two results are typical of the Impacts first MLS campaign. Montreal currently
boasts a seven-game unbeaten streak at home, including a scoreless draw in their
last outing against Sporting KC, but the expansion Impact are 2-12-1 on the
road. Montreal held leads in each of its two previous road games in Columbus and
Chicago but could not maintain them and ultimately lost both. The only road
result the Impact have enjoyed since a surprising 2-0 first road victory in
Kansas City on May 5 was a 1-0 win at New England on Aug. 12. And theyll be
trying to end Houstons 23-game home unbeaten streak, the second-longest in MLS
history. “Every game is different,” Montreal defender Matteo Ferrari said. “We
played some good games, like New England. We won and they didnt score. Sometimes
we didnt play well so for sure we have to keep more balanced.” Clearly, though,
the Impact will be looking to create offence. “I think we just need to be very
strategic about how we push the game,” Marsch said. “Any time now youre pushing
to get a win and result and three points, you want to do it in a way where you
dont leave yourself exposed. Weve said for a while now that all these games at
the end of the year come down to the last 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and thats
proved to be the case in a lot of different results around the league.” Adding
to the challenge, the Impact will be without defender Nelson Rivas and
midfielder Collen Warner. The team announced Tuesday that Rivas had
season-ending knee surgery. Warner will serve a one-game suspension for
yellow-card accumulation. Houston captain Brad Davis has a left calf strain and
may not be able to play. Look for Marsch to start Wenger and pair the rookie
with striker Marco DiVaio up front in a 4-4-2 lineup. “Its something that were
probably leaning towards doing,” Marsch said. “So I think that on a smaller
field and everything else with his strength and speed and athleticism that he
can do well, and I think the partnership of him and Marco has moved itself along
where now its ready to see what it looks like.” Chosen first overall by Montreal
in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft, Wenger has scored four goals in 20 games. Three of
his goals have come in his four starts this season, including his last on Aug. 4
in a 2-0 win over Philadelphia. “Its going to be a tough game,” Wenger said.
“Were going to have to work hard defensively and get a lot of guys behind the
ball, and its going to be hot, as well, because were not used to that, but I
think were up to the challenge.&#